The GOP’s war against compromise is flagrantly anti-constitutional

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It was 1790.

The U.S. Constitution had been in effect for barely a year, but already the government faced a crisis. The newly sworn-in Congress found itself paralyzed, unable to act on important issues of the day. As Thomas Jefferson described it, members “had got into the most extreme ill humor with one another. This broke out on every question with the most alarming heat; the bitterest animosities seemed to be engendered, and tho’ they met every day, little or nothing could be done from mutual distrust and antipathy.”

Sound familiar?

Alexander Hamilton, a bright young immigrant from the West Indies who now served as the first Treasury secretary, was insistent that Congress assume the debt incurred by states in fighting the Revolutionary War. He saw it as a federal obligation necessary to put our nation’s finances on a solid footing. But southern states, led by James Madison, balked because much of the debt was owed by northern states such as Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New York, where so much of the war had been fought.

A second critically important decision — where to locate the nation’s permanent capital — was also being blocked by sectional jealousies. Everyone wanted it; nobody wanted anybody else to have it. As a result, nothing could be done on either question, and the country was in danger of splitting apart under the Constitution before it could really get started.

Hoping to break the impasse, Jefferson invited the two main adversaries, Madison and Hamilton, to a private dinner at his home in New York City, the temporary capital. In the Broadway rap-musical hit “Hamilton,” playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda describes what happened in that room at 57 Maiden Lane:

“Two Virginians and an immigrant walk into a room. Diametric’ly opposed, foes.

They emerge with a compromise, having opened doors that were previously closed, bros.

The immigrant emerges with unprecedented financial power, a system he can shape however he wants.

The Virginians emerge with the nation’s capital….”

That capital, of course, being Washington, D.C., on the banks of the Potomac, deep in southern territory.

The deal — known in the history books as the Dinner Table Bargain — allowed both sides to win something important, and for the country to move on to other issues.  And it tells us that right from the beginning, men such as Hamilton, Madison and Jefferson recognized the importance of compromise. They knew it was necessary because they had designed the new system of governance to require it.

In drafting the Constitution, they and the other Founders had consciously decided against a parliamentary system in which the faction that controlled the House of Representatives controlled the executive branch as well, a system that made compromise between the two branches unnecessary. They distrusted the power inherent in that system, believing that it allowed government to implement dramatic change too easily, whenever the whims of public opinion swung from side to side.  Instead, they designed a system in which power would be diluted and shared, rather than concentrated, so that only through compromise would change occur.

As the rap goes in “Hamilton”:

“No one really knows how the parties get to yessss,

the pieces that are sacrificed in ev’ry game of chess,

We just assume that it happens,

but no one else is in the room where it happens….”

Today, it’s interesting to see people try to rewrite our history and traditions, pretending that compromise is surrender, that moderation is weakness, that ideological purity must be served and that anything else is somehow unpatriotic. They claim to revere both the Constitution and the Founding Fathers, in some cases to the point of donning Revolution-era costumes and carrying copies of the Constitution in their suit pockets, but they have no real understanding of what the Constitution attempts to achieve, or the means by which its designers intended it to operate.**

The origins of that misunderstanding are also pretty clear. Back in the early ’90s, when Newt Gingrich was just a Georgia backbencher with big ambitions, he would drop by the AJC’s offices fairly often to banter about politics. Even back then, it was clear that Newt’s deep interest in European history had given him a different perspective on legislative dynamics. As I wrote at the time, he believed that if you could instill stern, parliamentary-style discipline into the Republican Party, making it an act of betrayal to reach agreement with the other side, you could bring the system to its knees and force radical change just by controlling the House of Representatives. Put another way, he thought he had a way to shortcircuit the checks and balances installed by the Founders.

“Unlike the nonconfrontational Republicans who have led the minority party in the House,” as Clifford Krauss reported in the New York Times in 1992, “Mr. Gingrich says the best way to save Congress is to destroy its reputation by any means necessary.”

“I can’t tell you when we will win,” Gingrich told Krauss. “Every year is a make-or-break moment until the system collapses. We’ll know that when it happens.”

Over the past quarter century, with help from social media, talk radio and and other allies, Gingrich and his acolytes have built an intimidating system of discipline to keep their members in line. No deviance is tolerated, no compromise accepted. An entire generation of conservatives now believes, in contradiction to everything in our history, that “the room where it happens” is a bordello that ought to be boarded up forever. Their antipathy to compromise has become so deep-seated, so instinctive, that they are now unable to compromise among themselves even on a new party leader.

More importantly, by making adherence to ideology the single most important attribute in a politician, they have stripped the House of the flexibility needed to do business with the Senate and White House, which have their own interests, traditions and stances. And we witness the consequences.

Put in IT terms, the new software that they’ve been trying to install for the last quarter century remains stubbornly incompatible with the legacy hardware.

—————

**In fact, try to imagine the outrage of talk-radio hosts, the Tea Party, and the “Freedom Caucus” to a modern-day equivalent of the Dinner Table Bargain. It’s like trying to imagine the dimensions of the universe.

 

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1270 comments
Watsuie007
Watsuie007


Stupid is as stupid does and that is why this country is falling apart.  I rarely ever vote GOP, but,never have I wanted someone, esp the President to fail.  I never voted for Nixon, Bush I or II, Reagan. but I never wanted any of them shot, impeached or harmed in anyway and I never wanted them to fail at most things.  Unlike what we have now, which is make Obama a failure at all cost.  The lack of respect for the majority of citizens who voted for him and his plans, shows the nation and the world just what kind of people inhibit the GOP.  I hope few of them are my neighbors.

Happy2020
Happy2020

I've tried below to reply to TD many times. How do I reply with the @ symbol?

No, TD just a simple man from Acworth, that must have the worst tablet made. Possibly it's my 50Mb connection from Comcast? Or, as I seen before, people complain about the format.

Like I stated earlier, off day, and some of the things you post are such piles of dung.

Brosephus
Brosephus

Paul Ryan got deez!!  Sheets!!!

td1234
td1234

Just like with Stone Mnt. Lets just erase and rewrite history. 


"A spokeswoman for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is denying earlier reports that his family is replacing a painting of George Washington in the mayor’s mansion with more diverse historical figures.

Two administration officials told NBC New York that the Big Apple’s mayoral aimed to remove a handful of paintings depicting George Washington and other unspecified Founding Fathers from the historical Yellow Parlor in the Gracie Mansion for more diverse artifacts that will reportedly better represent the history of America.



Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2015/10/14/de-blasio-family-removes-paintings-of-founding-fathers-replaces-them-with-more-diverse-artwork/#ixzz3oeXl7NH3

td1234
td1234

Make America great again 


"On Wednesday in Virginia, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump blasted Democrats Hilary Clinton and

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)16% for promising Obamacare, more driver’s licenses and perhaps even Social Security benefits to illegal immigrants.

Trump, who live-Tweeted during Tuesday night’s Democratic debate, said at a campaign event that Clinton and Sanders “couldn’t give things away fast enough, and they’re giving them to illegal immigrants.”

“They want health care for illegal immigrants. They want driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants,” Trump said. “They’re suggesting—listen to this—Social Security for illegal immigrants.

“So we’re going to straighten things out and bring immigration under control,” Trump said. “If we don’t have a border and we have people all over this country we have no idea where they’re coming from, we no longer have a country.”

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@td1234 He is going to make America great again


And its going to be fantastic !!!!!

fedup52
fedup52

@consumedconsumer Running for POTUS is good for book business. 

He is going on book tour.  Business before the country.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

In a rare reversal, Obama has announced keeping troops in Afghanistan.

For Lefties who prefer to ignore Barry's mistakes, Obama has repeatedly spoken of ending the Afghan war before he exited office.

Apparently, he thinks having another Iraq/ISIS mess attributed to him would be more damaging to his legacy than not keeping the campaign promise.

His decisions have never been on what's right or wrong for Afghanistan or America.  

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@JohnnyReb

When you're not often wrong you'll find that the need to self-correct is indeed rare.

honested
honested

@JohnnyReb 

Soon, if the MIC gets it's way, Afghanistan will be just another outpost.......like Okinawa, Germany, Korea, The Persian Gulf, Cuba and everywhere else we set up shop, never leave and continue to bill the United States Taxpayers!

consumedconsumer
consumedconsumer

@JohnnyReb so you oppose staying in Afghanistan . . . or is this just an opportunity to take a swipe at the current POTUS?

Kamchak
Kamchak

Republican aren't even trying to pretend anymore.

Second House Republican Admits Benghazi Investigation Is A Plot To Get Hillary Clinton

Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY) was speaking about John Boehner’s retirement and the situation in the House when he said:

Kevin McCarthy basically blew himself up with that comment over the Benghazi committee. You know, sometimes the biggest sin you can commit in DC is to tell the truth. This may not be politically correct, but I think that there was a big part of this investigation that was designed to go after people, an individual, Hillary Clinton.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Kamchak - nice try at spin, but the Benghazi committee was formed before Hillary's email mess became known.

If you deny that, prove it.

KUTGF
KUTGF

@JohnnyReb "PLOT TO GET HILLARY"  does not mean only emails.  LOL

honested
honested

@JohnnyReb @Kamchak 

Did they not start by blaming every representative of the State Department not killed in the attack?

Is it the position of the Benggggghhhhhhhaaaaaazzzzzziiii Committee that the United States should not be involved in any nation where we are not actively at war?

Kamchak
Kamchak

@JohnnyReb 

And little Kenny Starr spent $52 million investigating Whitewater and all he got was a little blue dress from The Gap.

Soooooooooooooooo, thanks for proving my point, sport.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@JohnnyReb @Kamchak  nice try at spin, but the Benghazi committee was formed before Hillary's email mess became known.


And the Whitewater investigation began before they started looking at Monica.


These Republican investigations are open ended and creep everywhere. All on the taxpayers dime. 

breckenridge
breckenridge

While our media overlords in Washington DC and Manhattan relentlessly push to further-empower government by presenting government as the solution to every problem, 58% of the American people see government as their worst fear.

That sounds just so........socialist. At least nibbling at the edges of socialism.  And what's to be done about socialism, especially global socialism?  Gee I don't know, maybe somebody has a good answer?

"In the summer of 1996, the world converged upon Atlanta for the Olympic Games. Under the protection and auspices of the regime in Washington millions of people came to celebrate the ideals of global socialism. Multinational corporations spent billions of dollars, and Washington organized an army of security to protect these best of all games. Even though the conception and the purpose of the so-called Olympic movement is to promote the values of global socialism as perfectly expressed in the song "Imagine" by John Lennon, which was the theme of the 1996 Games—even though the purpose of the Olympics is to promote these ideals, the purpose of the attack on July 27 was to confound, anger and embarrass the Washington government in the eyes of the world for its abominable sanctioning of abortion on demand."  Eric Rudolph


Okay. That is an answer.  However there may be better answers out there.


straker
straker

fedup - "would actually be good for a lot of things and people"


And all the tool cons will nod their little pointed heads in agreement.

td1234
td1234

@Kamchak As worker participation falls to lowest levels in 40 years. 

honested
honested

@Kamchak 

but, but, but, what about the labor force participation rate of retired people?

How many Federal prison inmates are seeking jobs?

If a bullfrog had wings.......

honested
honested

@td1234 @Kamchak 

Compare and contrast today with the 'workforce participation rate in 1981 and 2002.

td1234
td1234

@honested How many people on means tested programs are not participating? Almost $1 trillion a year spent on means tested programs. 


How many on SSI are not participating? Largest number of people in the history of the country receiving SSI. 

Brosephus
Brosephus

@InTheMiddle2 

They were included in the labor participation rate up until the time they retired though.  If they've been unable to get a job since the economy crashed and decided to retire this year, then they've been counted in the labor participation rate up until now.

Reagan raised the SS contribution amount to account for the increase in SS payouts when the boomers retired.  If he could see into the future to account for a mass reduction in the workforce, why can't everyone else?

InTheMiddle2
InTheMiddle2

@Brosephus @InTheMiddle2 That is correct, but as they retire they would not be included in the calculation and the labor participation rate would improve, not get worse.

Brosephus
Brosephus

@InTheMiddle2 

The rate goes down if we don't have new workers to replace them.  If you check the birthrate for Americans, it's been on the decline for a long time.  The labor participation rate also peaked around 2000.  Analysts long ago predicted this would occur, so I'm honestly confused why people are surprised by the numbers today.

honested
honested

@td1234 @honested 

What do those already adjusted concerns have to do with the slow steady drop in unemployment since 2009?

The number of people on Means Tested programs suggest means they PASS THE MEANS TEST.

As for SSI, there you go again, attempting to compare total number (the overall population of all groups has increased) to number included in the program without doing a comparison of percentages.

fedup52
fedup52

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh said Wednesday that warnings about the potential effects of climate change are overblown, arguing some global warming "would actually be good for a lot of things and people." 

+++++

Oxy Contin is good for you.  LOL

honested
honested

Now that another goper has come out with the truth on the Bennnnnngggghaaaaaaazzzzziiii hearings and the impending resignation of stonewall gowdy, will the wrong-wing admit the whole affair was just a political circus or will they ignore the hole and keep digging?

honested
honested

@LogicalDude @honested 

Well, at least they are suspending their pay while they do it and no other costs to the Taxpayers are accruing.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

@honested I think they'll keep digging.  They have no clue how to actually govern, so all they have is dig dig dig. 

gadem
gadem

@honested Really? You know the only way to get out of a hole is to dig more!

Happy2020
Happy2020

Mr. Bookman, this an excellent column. I've read you're blog for over four years now and have truly enjoyed it. I also enjoy reading the comments that are left. Finally, a day off.. I never have the time to go back and forth, but I just had to comment on TD1234's comment from below. If I understood the first paragraph correctly, 58% of the people are fearful of a Corrupt Government. I don't believe 58% are fearful of government as a whole.

58% percent if not more are fearful of all the lobbyists and big money interests. I believe that. I think then to just to paint all of the different levels government with a big brush is misleading.

KUTGF
KUTGF

@Happy2020 Welcome to posting.  You should realize that td's posts are like a juice box -- meant for the kiddies and containing very little actual juice (truthiness is not real juice).  Now if you need a link to articles by racists or by someone praising racists (see Allan West cheering for American Spectator as an example because black people in a Douglasville court did not act "white") or you want to know how to regurgitate Rush, he would be my "go to" guy. 

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@Happy2020


td lies. A lot. Actually, more than a lot. He lies all the time. 


He also has it in for the English language.  Butchering it is one of his favorite pastimes.  Here's a decryption key:


to = too


too = to


their = there


there = their


bacon = beacon


PRESUMABLY beacon = bacon


tenet = tenant


PRESUMABLY tenant = tenet


There are others but I'm blanking on them.


He also hates black people. And I mean really, really hates them. He is a fan of slavery.



td1234
td1234

@Happy2020 So TBS/Nobody knows has broke the self banning rule by creating yet another name. 


I wonder if Mr. Bookman will catch the ip address. 

td1234
td1234

@Eye wonder Civilwarvet/jamvet/amvet just recreates himself over and over again but still has nothing relevant to add to the blog.  

Happy2020
Happy2020

I've read TD's posts for years now. I do often get left with that crunched up "wtf" face.

My apologizes for the grammatical errors from my original post. Yes, it was my first post ever. So call me a rookie.

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@Eye wonder @Happy2020 

I'm not sure that I would say td lies a lot - it's just that he has so little respect for reality he's willing to say anything that will allow him to give himself permission to ignore it.

IMO, it's a lot less trouble just to accept reality, but, hey, that's just me!